Arguing for eliminativism

In Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge University Press (2005)
This paper considers how best an eliminativist might argue for the radical falsity of commonsense psychology. I will be arguing that Paul Churchland’s “official” arguments for eliminative materialism (in, e.g., Churchland 1981) are unsatisfactory, although much of the paper will be developing themes that are clearly present in Churchland’s writings. The eliminativist needs to argue that the representations that feed into action are fundamentally different from those invoked by propositional attitude psychology. The “springs of action” are representations of features that are much more finely grained than those encoded within the vocabulary that we employ to specify the content of propositional attitudes. The eliminativist’s most promising strategy is to argue that, whatever we might think about why we behave the way we do, careful experimental work will show that we are in fact acting in virtue of representations of properties and microfeatures that fall completely outside the ambit of propositional attitude psychology. The paper considers a number of examples of how this eliminativist strategy might be developed, ranging from the implications of the two visual systems hypothesis to research in social psychology into the role that situational factors play in controlling action.
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Berm (2006). Arguing for Eliminativism. In Brian L. Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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